Are you experiencing mental burnout?

You’ve been training hard, been consumed with thoughts about an upcoming event, and been trying everything to get your body in tip top shape, but there seems to be something ‘off’.

You can no longer motivate yourself, it’s harder to drag yourself to your training workouts, and those workouts seem more difficult to get through.


If any of this sounds like you, then you could be experiencing something known as mental burnout.

What is mental burnout?

Mental burnout can be defined as “a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive prolonged stress”.

It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands.

As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

This can be very common for athletes who are in a continued role of physical stress without proper recovery times and can go hand in hand with overtraining. Thankfully there are ways to avoid mental burnout to keep your head in the game and get yourself to the goal you desire.

Train smart

As a personal trainer whenever I am making programs for my clients I always have a set approach. There must be enough variety in intensity, muscles being worked, and modes of exercise in order to see the most benefit.

If a person is doing the same workout every day the muscles become over worked, injury is at a greater risk, and overtraining can rear its ugly head.

Therefore variety is key.

Mix up your exercises, vary the days in which you work certain muscle groups and try something new.

For all you runners out there variety is also extremely important. Cross training can bring more excitement back to your workouts, works various muscle groups, and can overall improve your running time.

Rest is critical

For an athlete, trainer, or dedicated exerciser, rest can be one of the most challenging aspects of fitness to work into your routine. Many people will skip rest days for another workout thinking that more is better and they don’t need rest.

Rest is important for allowing your body to recover, rebuild the broken down muscle tissue and allow all the systems in the body to get back to homeostasis.

Each week you should allow yourself to have at least one day of rest.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sit around and do nothing, but instead take a day off from training and enjoy a leisurely activity.

For example, going on a long walk, or yoga are all great active rest activities that you can do to get your body ready for another week of training.

how to avoid mental burnout_2Breathe and visualize

When you start to feel like you’re in mental burnout allow yourself to take a break for a couple minutes.

– You may need to sit down take a deep breath and think about why you are going to exercise in the first place.

– What were your goals to get started?

– Why do you feel it is impossible to exercise today?

While you do this take deep breaths, this will help calm the nervous system and while you think about these answers you can create a meditative state that allows relaxation.

Once you have completed this for however many minutes you need, you may begin to feel more motivated and regain your desire to train. If this still doesn’t work, allow yourself to take a “mental health day” off from exercising and recoup by doing something you enjoy so tomorrow you’ll be back at it!

Sleep and eat

When the body becomes excessively stressed sleep may begin to get more restless and eating habits can become less healthy.

Make sure during your whole training program you are sleeping at least 7 to 8 hours each night.

This helps with the recovery process and allows the brain and body to perform at their best.

Having an eating program along with your training program may be the best option to make sure you are ingesting enough calories. These calories should be consistent of proper amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats along with all other vitamins and minerals.

When training for a long running event (half or full marathons) it is a good idea to ingest more carbohydrates towards the end of your training cycle in order to prevent the feelings of burnout and overtraining.

Mental burnout can hit anyone at any time during a prolonged training schedule

It is important that you are training and treating your body in the best way possible to avoid the symptoms of burnout and get you to the athletic level you desire.

If you are thinking of training for a particular event but are overwhelmed with how to create a training program, feel free to contact me, I’d be happy to help get your body to where it needs to be in order for you to reach your goals!

Connect with Expert Shannon Dolan.

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